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Papillon– Fun Facts and Crate Size

22" dog crate Dog Crate Sizes Extra Small Papillion

Papillon dog crate size


Quick Facts:

  • AKC recognized in 1915
  • Lifespan: 14-16 years
  • Size: Small
  • Energy: Medium
  • Recommended Crate Size: 22” dog crate*

Return to main Dog Crate Size Breed Chart.

Table of Contents


If you need a little perk in your life, this dog is sure to deliver.  Quick and curious, fun and friendly, Papillons are bouncing balls of sunshine on a cloudy day. 

No wonder he stole the hearts of many rich and famous people like Marie Antoinette and Madame Pompadour.  Better watch out...he’ll steal yours too!

The Perky Papillon is a unique mixture of upbeat and uptown.  He’s lively and vivacious yet elegant enough to grace majestic palaces and castles. 

If you think you’d like this terrific toy dog to grace your home too, read on to see if it’s a good idea...or not.


The Perky Papillon, also known as the Continental Toy Spaniel, Squirrel Spaniel, or Titian Spaniel, is a Toy breed in the Spaniel class of dogs.  He is among the oldest of the Toy Spaniels with a rich history that is actually most traceable through art.

The name “Papillon” was given to this dog because the word translates to mean “black butterfly” in French. While the coloring is not typically black, the long, fringed hair on his erect ears do definitely give him the notorious butterfly look that is characteristic to the breed.

While the Pap is believed to have originated in France, the earliest paintings of similar dogs can be traced to Italy around the year of 1500 with Tiziano Vicelli’s famous paintings. 

A slew of other well-known artists in Italy chose Papillons as models for their masterpieces as well.  In fact, a Pap can be seen in a Louis XIV family portrait. 

Through paintings of old and written accounts as well, it is clear to see that those of noble standing had a love affair with Papillons. 

Legend has it that Marie Antoinette walked to the guillotine while clinging to her Pappy.  Whether that is fiction or fact may never be known but she did most likely have a Papillon that she had imported from Spain. 

As the story goes, the dog was spared and tended to in a place in Paris that was called the Papillon House.  The house still stands today, giving some validity to the folk tale.

By the 16th century, Papillons had made his way to Japan where he was embraced in the arms of Emporers and other people of nobility. 

Although some of the characteristics of the breed has changed over the years, Paps were once referred to as Squirrel Spaniels because, at that time, their tails curled over their backs much like squirrel’s tails do. 

The dropped ear of the breed was also a big distinction in the earlier years and was a coveted attribute.  The drop-eared or non-dropped ears became such a controversial matter that the dog breed was split into two classifications- true Papillons, those with erect ears, and Phalenes, those with dropped-ears.  Phalenes translates to mean “night moth”.

By the 19th century, breeders were leaning towards ears that stood up but both types can be found even today, sometimes within the same litter. The dropped ear variety is rarer and in recent years has become quite popular once again.

Eventually, the Pap came to America and was received with open arms and laps as well.

The American Kennel Club formally recognized the breed in 1915 following some major reining efforts in Europe (mostly France and Italy). 

In 1935, the Papillon Club of America was formed.  They became the AKC Parent Club for the breed, serving as the custodians of the Pap and its Standard.

The dainty balls of dynamite are quite the little athletes.  They excel in conformation but also in many other competitive fields like agility and obedience.

Papillons grew wildly popular in Japan again in the 1970s where they became a fashion statement.  Japan Papillons tend to have brown fur with white accents and are the most numerous. 

French Paps, however, are mainly white with black and brown accents.

The rich and famous have adored this breed through the ages. It is said that King Henry II spent over 100,000 crowns on his beloved Papillons.  Modern icons and celebrities are carrying on the tradition. 

The legendary actress, Lauren Bacal, was a huge fan of the breed.  She passed away in 2014, leaving 100,000 for the care of her Pap, Sophie, who she adored. 

American singer Christina Aguilera owns two of them.  Pop singer Justin Beiber has a Pap he got from an animal shelter and the story was featured on Public Service Television.

This small pup is often called “a big dog in a little suit”.  His tiny size is in stature only.  His personality, his presence, and his heart... are huge.


Papillon dogs have a bone structure that is light and dainty yet surprisingly strong.  Elegant, yet athletic, they are small dogs in the toy class, weighing in at between 8 to 10 pounds as an average for males and 7 to 9 for females.  Adult males and females stand just 8 to 11 inches at the shoulder. 

One of the most notable features of the Pap’s appearance is his oversized, wing-shaped ears that stand erect in the Papillon variety or droop down in the Phalene type. 

The American Kennel Club and the Federation Cynologigue Internationale considers both varieties to be under the classification of Pavillon.  Long, fringed hair is present on the ears in both varieties.

The head of the Pappy is small and well-rounded between his ears.  His muzzle is tapered to his nose and is short and thin.

His facial features are sharp and expressive with dark round eyes (that love to stare at people) and brown eyebrows.  Black rims outline his eyes and extend on out to his ears as if to accentuate them even more.  His teeth are set in a scissor bite position.

The tail of Papillons are plumed, long, and somewhat straight and is carried over their little body.  His tail and his legs have thicker fur than the rest of his body does.

His coat is single layered.  It is long and silky smooth with white being the typical base color but pure white dogs are not allowed in competitions according to the AKC standards. 

Patches of most any color can grace his coat and a colored mask of a non-white color covers his eyes, from front to back, and both ears.  An extra frill of fur can be found on his ears, chest, back legs, and tail.

The paw pads of the Pap range from black to pink.

This sprite little dog carries himself with an air of confidence and elegant nobility.  It is evident from his gliding gait to the look on his face. 

Given his rich history, centuries of being seated in the laps of the’s only fitting that he should abound with such grace. 

But there is also something delightfully refreshing about him as well.  It comes with discovering just how loving and playful he is, contrary to the snobby persona his appearance initially gives off.


It is recommended to provide your Papillon formulated to small, toy-sized dog breeds. It is highly recommended that you discuss your Pap’s feeding regime with your veterinarian and/or breeder so together, you can determine the most optimal size and frequency of meals in order to ensure a healthy, long life.

Because of his size, you may be advised to feed your dog small, frequent meals throughout the day until he is mature enough to eat more at one time.  Up to four meals may be required for pint-sized pups.

The food you feed your Pap should have amble protein to fuel his energy, as a pup and as an adult. High-quality protein and fat should be the main ingredients. 

He will also require omega-3 fatty acids, some carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.  You might discuss the subject with a vet or breeder as well. 

It is also important to ensure that clean, fresh water is always available.


Papillons are good-looking dogs by all definitions of the term.  They don’t require near the grooming you’d expect them to.  They don’t shed much either.  To keep them adorable in appearance, there are a few things you’ll need to do though. 

Regular brushing is a must-do.  By brushing his silky hair every day or two, you’ll keep mats, tangles, and knots at bay.  His coat will shine when the oils are distributed and his skin will be healthy too. 

A regular bath is in order too so you’ll keep him squeaky clean and smelling fresh.  He can be bathed every week if you choose to, as long as you use a hypoallergenic, dog-friendly conditioning shampoo so his hair won’t dry out and become brittle.  But, he can usually also go up to 6 weeks in between.  The Pap is easy like that!

As far as clipping, the front of his face, body, chest, and ears don’t require clipping or trimming’re in luck there!  Only his backside will need to be cut. 

Some pet parents do the trimming themselves and others rely on the help of a groomer.  You may want to blunt cut but many prefer to use thinning shears so there is no noticeable cut line.  Some use a combination of both.

The hair on the pads of his feet needs to be trimmed up when they get shabby.  This breed has “hare feet” which means their feet come to a point with a tuft of hair on the toes’ tips.  They are the opposite of cat paws. 

The hair on the tips just needs trimming to prevent discomfort and to keep them from getting undue amounts of dirt and debris on the hairy areas.

His ears will need to be kept clean and dry.  Never use a Q-tip.  A clean damp cloth or cotton ball works best and won’t risk injury.

Keep his nails trimmed and free of chips, cracks, and splits.  He typically isn’t outdoors long enough to wear them down on his own naturally.

Brushing his teeth once or twice a week is vital in order to prevent tartar build-up which can cause cavities.  It will also help ward away dental disease and bad breath. 

His teeth are of the scissor bite type so you’ll need to get in all the nooks and crannies.  Using a doggie toothbrush and toothpaste will encourage his cooperation.


Papillons definitely need exercise and play time.  They simply must get their pent up energy out in order to be happy and healthy and to stay out of mischief. 

One or two formal walks of 20 minutes per day are usually good for this breed with plenty of playtime in between.  Be sure to watch out for reckless children on bikes, big aggressive dogs, and other potential dangers while walking him. 

Also, be careful not to pull on his leash as it could injure his neck.  Don’t let him tug or pull on it either.

Dog parks are lots of fun with a Pappy but do be careful that he’s not around larger dogs that might play too rough or aggressively.

Mental exercise and stimulation is imperative.  This dog is too smart to sit idle.  Brain games are great for him.  You’ll want to keep him challenged or he will quickly grow bored. 

A good rule of thumb is that if you are going somewhere that he can go along, let him.  That includes short to moderate hiking trips, lake outings (though he probably won’t go swimming), and any other place he can get a little run or walk in. 

Pet Crate Size

Pet Crates Direct recommends 22” dog crates* for most adult Papillons. 

 * Links for crate sizes will bring you to the most appropriate Amazon page.

More Information

Papillon - Fun Facts and Crate Sizes


The Papillon is very intelligent.  In fact, he’s noted as being one of the top ten smartest breeds in existence.

He’s self-assured too which makes him very friendly and sociable, unlike some of the other toy breeds that are shy, suspicious and stand-offish.

The Pappy is quite at home in the lap of his pet parent or getting to know a stranger.  He loves children and does well with them. 

It should be noted that given his pint-size, he shouldn’t be exposed to rambunctious kids or left alone with little ones who might not realize how delicate he can be.  He sure doesn’t think he’s fragile and that’s part of the problem, with children and with other pets. 

Although he gets along well with other dogs and even cats, it’s important that he’s not around ones that may overpower him.  This mini package of dynamite won’t back down which can certainly not work out in his favor.  He can be a bit leery of dogs and cats he hasn’t grown up around so early socialization is imperative. 

Paps are excellent companion dogs.  They are spirited and energetic so they fit in well with active households yet, at the end of the day, they are calm, cool, and collect enough to fall asleep in your lap.

This breed is highly affectionate and loyal too.  They would lay down their very lives for their family and make that known by barking if they feel danger is approaching. 

Usually, it’s just the mailman or a neighbor stopping by but until you assure them of such, they’ll keep on barking and thus make good guard dogs.  Their potentially excessive barking from the Yappy Pappy is something you’ll want to deal with early on in his training classes.

With medium and sometimes even high energy levels, adequate exercise is a must.  This breed sports only a single layer coat and is very small so he’s not a big fan of cold weather but can somewhat tolerate the heat.  Needless to say, he’s an inside dwelling dog.

Because somewhere deep in his genes, his heritage has Working Dog in it, he is best when given some kind of job to do or at least for him to think he’s doing one. 

While Paps were created to live in the royal lap of luxury, the ancient breeds they stem from were workers and that will forever be streaming in his blood even if just a tad.

Because of his tiny size, he makes a good apartment, cabin, or small condo pooch if you train him not to bark at every noise he hears. 

He is quite portable too so you can bring him along shopping, for cruises in the car, and even scoop him up and take him to the office, a friend’s house, or on vacation with you.  He travels well and loves every minute of it.

What he can’t stand is to be left alone.  While he’s not as bad as some small breeds with extreme separation anxiety, he does still get it to a certain extent.  He fares much better with a family or individual where he’ll be around at least one person much of the time.

Happy, happy, happy!  This pup seems to always be happy about something.  Maybe that’s why he makes a fabulous family pet, a wonderful companion, and a darn good therapy dog too. 


The Pap is easy to train for the most part.  They are very intelligent, so they catch on quickly.  They like to please the humans they love, so that’s a big plus.  And...they definitely have the energy to keep practicing. 

Positive training is the only way to go with the Papillon.  He’s too sensitive for scolding.  Your disapproval will crush him.  Stick with praise and some treats now and then and you’ll have an excellent student on your hands.

The few issues you may run into in training are that the Pap sometimes has a little trouble focusing because he’s so energetic.  A long walk prior to a training class is a good idea. 

The other possible problem comes with potty training.  He has a tiny bladder, especially as a puppy.  He’s not able to “hold it” very long.  You will need to take him to his designated potty spot frequently.  Since he’s sensitive to cold weather, in the winter you may want to incorporate the use of a doggie potty pad or a litter box.

Crate training is often successful with the Papillon puppy.  He’s a den animal by nature and being so small in the great big world can be frightening, even to the big dog in a little suit. 

Crate training gives dogs security and teaches them at the same time.  It is also optimal to crate him while you’re away if he tends to have anxiety issues.  It will keep him safe and secure.

Once you have your pup potty trained, you’ll want to socialize him.  Expose him to all different people, places, and things. 

Have him around busy, loud environments and in quiet places too so he can learn not to bark each time he detects a sound or movement.  Make sure to take him around different dogs and humans of all ages and personalities.

Obedience training is an absolute must with any dog, especially a toy breed.  You must teach him the basics, like “sit” and “stay”, and be sure he masters them. 

If a big dog is approaching while you are outdoors with him, it’s imperative you, not the dog, has his attention.  That will allow you time to take control of the situation.  Obedience training is for his safety and is not optional.

Trick training is a blast with this little fellow.  Oh, how he loves to show off!  Once he gets the fact that mastering new skills gets him lots of attention, and an occasional treat too, he’ll be a pro in no time.

Being fine-boned, you wouldn’t expect him to be such an athlete but...he is one.  He is epic on the agility course and is fantastic at Flyball, freestyle, carting, rally, and tracking.

Brain game training tactics are excellent for the Pap too.  Teach him new skills that require some thought.  He’ll love being stimulated intellectually and you’ll be amazed at just how smart he really is.


Papillons are generally a healthy breed.  They have a life expectancy of 14-16 years and have been known to live up to 17 years.  There are, however, some genetic-based health problems to watch for and other conditions that can arise as well.

Patellar Luxation is also known as “slipped stifles”.  It is all too common in small breed dogs so the Pappy is subject to it as well.  This condition involves the tibia, knee cap, and thigh bone not lining up properly. 

It can cause an abnormal gait, such as a hop or a skip, and can slip out of place causing pain, limping, and lameness.  If you suspect your dog has this problem, have him checked by his vet right away.

Hip Dysplasia is a condition where the hip slips out of its socket.  It can be hereditary in nature or the cause can be due to the environment. The issue can be painful and can lead to difficulty in walking or not being able to walk at all.  Any signs of this condition is reason enough to get him examined at the vet clinic sooner rather than later.

Hypothyroidism is seen in the Pappy often enough to warrant concern.  The condition affects the endocrine system and treatment is required.  Loss of hair and decreased energy are signs of the medical woe.

Hypoglycemia is another issue sometimes seen in tiny breeds such as the Papillon.  It is characterized by low sugar.  The condition is highly treatable unless left untreated for too long. 

Listlessness, trembling, loss of weight without explanation, and collapse or coma are all signs of Hypoglycemia. 

You should get your pup to the vet clinic as soon as possible if you think he may have this condition.  A blood test can be performed to determine if he does or doesn’t.

A Collapsed Trachea is a small dog issue the Pap may encounter.  The reason it occurs is not fully understood but it involves the flattening of the trachea which makes it difficult or impossible for air to get into the lungs. 

The condition can be fatal and is thought to be inherited.  If you suspect this condition in your dog, see his vet immediately.  There may be treatment available.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy is an eye disorder that is degenerative in nature that some Paps contract.  It eventually leads to blindness due to the loss of photoreceptors that are located in the rear of the eye. 

There is testing that can determine if your dog may have the condition.  Since dogs are very resourceful, going blind will only be an inconvenience, not a death sentence. 

He has above average ability to smell and he will be able to adjust.  No one wants their beloved pooch to go blind but as long as he’s in familiar territory, he’ll do fine if that turns out to be the case.

Urinary stones can plague this dog breed.  Having frequent urinary accidents, excessive licking, and pain are some of the symptoms.  If suspected, your vet will take an x-ray to determine if there is a stone. 

The stones can consist of cysteine crystals, urate, calcium oxalate, or struvite.  It is important to diagnose the type before your vet can recommend the treatment.  A therapeutic diet will definitely be part of the course of action.

Skin allergies run rampant in Paps.  They can be allergic to their shampoo, laundry detergent residue in their bedding, the grass, corn, wheat, or other ingredients in their food or a host of other things. 

If your dog shows signs of allergies on his skin or even if his allergies are respiratory in nature, speak with his vet about it the first chance you get.

Heart disease in Pappys is becoming more common.  The reason is not known at this time.  Epilepsy is also growing in concern.  Both conditions warrant a quick visit to the vet to get a diagnosis and if the problem exists, to determine what course of action is best.

One last medical woe this breed is susceptible to is broken bones.  They are strong dogs but their bones are fine.  They never seem to accept their small stature which can land them in trouble such as sporting a broken leg. 

Be sure to keep your Pap from doing daring deeds he’s too small and fragile to do like jumping from extreme heights.  He knows no limits so it’s up to you to set them for him.

Making sure you get your Pappy from a responsible breeder is imperative.  This pretty pup fetches a steep price tag so many fall into temptation and become greedy which puts the health of the pups at risk.  If possible, you can also check out Papillon rescues and shelters and give a dog in need a second chance.

Is a Papillon Right for Me?

If you are smitten by the charm of the Papillon, you are in good company.  Many throughout history have adored the breed as well like Marie Antoinette, Madame Pompadour, and countless others.  But, do you have what this butterfly needs in order to fly high?

Are you committed to meeting his exercise requirements?  If you are looking for a lazy lap dog, this is not your pup.  He is medium, sometimes high, in energy.  He simply won’t be healthy or happy without good daily walks and playtime in between. 

He’ll also need training because a good dog should never be wasted by not training them.  With proper training, he’ll ace the challenge of obedience, tricks, and probably even some athletic activities.  This dog is multi-talented and deserves to have a pet parent that will bring out his expert abilities.

If you have rowdy small children or household pets that might play too roughly with this toy tiger, it’s not advisable that you bring him into the environment lest he gets injured.

But, if you have a calm home and are willing and able to meet his exercise needs and are up for training him or having him trained, this tiny treasure just might be your gem.  If so, this perky pup is sure to light up your life like he has so many others who have gone before you.

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